How granny evolved so as not to be thrown under the bus
From Rachel Caspari in Scientific American (July 21, 2011), we learn about “The Evolution of Grandparents: Senior citizens may have been the secret of our species’s success”:
Recent analyses of fossil teeth indicate that grandparents were rare in ancient populations, such as those of the australopithecines and the Neandertals. They first became common around 30,000 years ago, as evidenced by remains of early modern Europeans.
This surge in the number of seniors may have been a driving force for the explosion of new tool types and art forms that occurred in Europe at around the same time. It also may explain how modern humans outcompeted archaic groups such as the Neandertals.
Good example of a formula “human evolution” story: Find something that’s changed and make up an evolution scenario that accounts for it.
If facts mattered (which they don’t when we are talking about human evolution), young adults are more likely to invent things than older ones. The fact that more people live to be grandparents in a developing society (even a very ancient one) is no guarantee that they are useful or pleasant, or are perceived to be so.
It is worth reflecting on—not jumping to conclusions about—the fourth commandment in the Decalogue: Honor your father and your mother” (Ex 20:12, Deut 5:16). It is easy to find ancient literature extolling the virtue (once called filial piety) of honouring one’s parents, and old people generally. Only an evolutionary psychologist could imagine that the generally prescriptive nature of these writings/sayings derives from the advantages senior citizens created. But these days, no proposition is too foolish to be advanced on Darwin’s behalf.
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8 Replies to “How granny evolved so as not to be thrown under the bus”
Of related interest, It is interesting to revisit the severe ‘compromise’ that have recently been visited upon the neo-Darwinian story of human evolution. Just a few years back, the 99% similarity myth was the main evidence for ‘the story’ of human evolution that was used to beat anyone who doubted the almighty power of evolution to create humans with. Yet now that evidence for 99% genetic similarity is now ‘compromised’, to put it mildly:
Chimps are not like humans – May 2004
Excerpt: the International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium reports that 83% of chimpanzee chromosome 22 proteins are different from their human counterparts,,, The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee—only 17% are identical—so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said.
Recent Genetic Research Shows Chimps More Distant From Humans,,, – Jan. 2010
Excerpt: A Nature paper from January, 2010 titled, “Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content,” found that Y chromosomes in humans and chimps “differ radically in sequence structure and gene content,” showing “extraordinary divergence” where “wholesale renovation is the paramount theme.”,,, “Even more striking than the gene loss is the rearrangement of large portions of the chromosome. More than 30% of the chimp Y chromosome lacks an alignable counterpart on the human Y chromosome, and vice versa,,,”
A False Trichotomy
Excerpt: The common chimp (Pan troglodytes) and human Y chromosomes are “horrendously different from each other”, says David Page,,, “It looks like there’s been a dramatic renovation or reinvention of the Y chromosome in the chimpanzee and human lineages.”
Study Reports a Whopping “23% of Our Genome” Contradicts Standard Human-Ape Evolutionary Phylogeny – Casey Luskin – June 2011
Excerpt: For about 23% of our genome, we share no immediate genetic ancestry with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. This encompasses genes and exons to the same extent as intergenic regions. We conclude that about 1/3 of our genes started to evolve as human-specific lineages before the differentiation of human, chimps, and gorillas took place. (of note; 1/3 of our genes is equal to about 7000 genes that we do not share with chimpanzees)
,,,moreover neo-Darwinists, using their very own mathematical models for population gentics, cannot account for the fixation of even a single ‘coordinated mutation’ within the human lineage,,
Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
,,,nor can they account for the fixation of a ‘coordinated mutation’ in any other metazoan lineage,,,
Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
It is also interesting to note the severe bias that some (many?) neo-Darwinists use when ‘molding’ the genetic evidence to fit their preconceived conclusions;
This following article, which has a direct bearing on the 98.8% genetic similarity myth, shows that over 1000 ‘ORFan’ genes, that are completely unique to humans and not found in any other species, and that very well may directly code for proteins, were stripped from the 20,500 gene count of humans simply because the evolutionary scientists could not find corresponding genes in primates. In other words evolution, of humans from primates, was assumed to be true in the first place and then the genetic evidence was directly molded to fit in accord with their unproven assumption. It would be hard to find a more biased and unfair example of practicing science!
Human Gene Count Tumbles Again – 2008
Excerpt: Scientists on the hunt for typical genes — that is, the ones that encode proteins — have traditionally set their sights on so-called open reading frames, which are long stretches of 300 or more nucleotides, or “letters” of DNA, bookended by genetic start and stop signals.,,,, The researchers considered genes to be valid if and only if similar sequences could be found in other mammals – namely, mouse and dog. Applying this technique to nearly 22,000 genes in the Ensembl gene catalog, the analysis revealed 1,177 “orphan” DNA sequences. These orphans looked like proteins because of their open reading frames, but were not found in either the mouse or dog genomes. Although this was strong evidence that the sequences were not true protein-coding genes, it was not quite convincing enough to justify their removal from the human gene catalogs. Two other scenarios could, in fact, explain their absence from other mammalian genomes. For instance, the genes could be unique among primates, new inventions that appeared after the divergence of mouse and dog ancestors from primate ancestors. Alternatively, the genes could have been more ancient creations — present in a common mammalian ancestor — that were lost in mouse and dog lineages yet retained in humans. If either of these possibilities were true, then the orphan genes should appear in other primate genomes, in addition to our own. To explore this, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.
The sheer, and blatant, shoddiness of the science of the preceding study should give everyone who reads it severe pause whenever, in the future, someone tells them that genetic studies have proven evolution to be true.
If the authors of the preceding study were to have actually tried to see if the over 1000 unique ORFan genes of humans may actually encode for proteins, instead of just written them off because they were not found in other supposedly related species, they would have found that there is ample reason to believe that they may very well encode for biologically important proteins:
A survey of orphan enzyme activities
Abstract: We demonstrate that for ~80% of sampled orphans, the absence of sequence data is bona fide. Our analyses further substantiate the notion that many of these (orfan) enzyme activities play biologically important roles.
Then how does ID account for the sudden increase in grandparents 30,000 years ago. The Fourth Commandment wasn’t written until much later.
It’s nice to have sixty or more years of memory available when things get tough. Memories like, “I remember that we ate the roots of these weeds when we had a terrible famine like this one when I was a girl. They taste terrible, but they kept us alive.”
That kind of information keeps the whole tribe alive until the crisis is over, including those young adults.
And in other news, Richard Dawkins (famed “Dicky-D” of the Darwinian Rap Posse) throws himself under the bus, requesting dismissal of his lawsuit against former website operator and partner, Josh Timonen: http://dawkinssuestimonen.com/
When asked why he repeatedly brings disrepute upon himself, Dawkins is thought to have mused “Well, some people just never evolve.”
How big a sample was used to demonstrate this sudden emergence of grand-parents — are we really awash in 30,000 year-old bones?
Of somewhat related interest to the 99% genetic similarity myth that has now been completely overturned: Despite the large genetic differences we now find between chimps and man, where there shouldn’t be such large differences, we are also now finding close genetic similarity where there should be large differences:
Kangaroo genes close to humans
Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
and now, as they said in Monty Python, for something completely different;
Sex, the Queen of Problems in Evolutionary Biology – Jonathan M.
Excerpt: The origin of sexually reproducing organisms from asexually reproducing ancestors is a profound mystery which has baffled many an evolutionary biologist. The origin and subsequent maintenance of sex and recombination is a phenomenon not easily explained by Darwinian evolution.
,,,as to ‘subsequent maintenance’ of sexual reproduction, someone please tell me how evolution explains this ‘coordinated evolution’ of the male and female marsupial reproductive system:;
,,,’Marsupials’ reproductive systems differ markedly from those of placental mammals (Placentalia). Females have two lateral vaginas, which lead to separate uteri but both open externally through the same orifice. A third canal, the median vagina, is used for birth. This canal can be transitory or permanent. The males generally have a two-pronged penis, which corresponds to the females’ two vaginas. The penis is used only for discharging semen into females, and there is instead a urogenital sac used to store waste before expulsion.’
Sorry off topic:
Robot flies like a bird:
From the designers:
“SmartBird could only be realised through the integration of intelligent mechanics, electrical drive technology, findings from fluid dynamics, intelligent open and closed-loop control engineering, condition monitoring and constant scientific validation and transfer of scientific findings into practice.”
All of which and so so much more, of course, being accidentally stumbled upon by random mutations and natural selection in the natural world!
Like dmullenix, I’d also like to hear how ID explains the significant increase in grandparents. I’d also like to hear how ID explains menopause, which is unique to humans, and may be responsible for increases in grandmothers.
Actually, I’d also like to hear why it’s such a ridiculous idea? It’s not really explained in the OP